Stevie Finegan


AGENT

Stevie is currently CLOSED for submissions.

I joined Zeno at the beginning of 2020 after time served working for science fiction and fantasy imprint Gollancz, adult non-fiction publisher Icon, and almost every Waterstones bookshop London has to offer. My degree specialised in children’s literature with a dissertation debating what Young Adult fiction actually is. All of the above strongly influenced the kind of books I get excited about, as well as broader narratives that explore stories connected with LGBTQIA+, BAME, disability,  mental health, and other marginalised experiences.

I’m particularly interested in submissions in the following areas…

Fantasy — Big epic fantasies with strong characters and something new, particular favourites of mine are Brandon Sanderson and N.K. Jemisin. I love a world that feels original, China Mieville-esque weird is right up my street. Books about books, or with some clever meta-stories, like Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series or Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

Science Fiction — Often quite soft on the science, but I love character driven stories that imagine a more egalitarian future like Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers Series or The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. Also high concept questions like those found in the stories of Ken Liu and Ted Chiang.

Children’s — Picture Books, early reader, MG and YA. I’m a big fan of queer romance at any level and across all settings from Micheal Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Story to Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I’m a sucker for a boarding school story and would love something Enid Blyton-esque that contained a more inclusive cast of characters. I like whimsical, soft magic systems like those found in Diana Wynne Jones, Eva Ibbotson’s Middle Grade or Dave Rudden’s Knights of the Borrowed Dark. I also like books with a good sense of humour such as Holly Smale’s Geek Girl series or Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. In picture books I go for beautiful art with a deeper message like The Red Tree by Shaun Tan or Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love and works that contain as much of the story in the art as the language, like Oliver Jeffers or Jon Klassen.

Graphic Novels — Strong feminist and LGBTQIA+ themes with real heart like Isabel Greenberg’s The One Hundred Nights of Hero, Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker or Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper. Funny cartoonists like Tom Gauld, Sarah Andersen and Kate Beaton are also a plus.

Non-fiction — Books that comes with a clear promise, such as Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, Philippa Perry’s The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read or Isabel Hardman’s Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. Strong feminist themes like Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women or stories of women and other marginalised groups travelling or otherwise undertaking an amazing task, I would love to find an Eat, Pray, Love or a Wild for a new generation. Books that address struggles with mental health I also find very interesting, such a Bella Mackie’s Jog On, Nancy’s Tucker’s The Time in Between or David Adam’s The Man Who Couldn’t Stop.

Contact Details:

Email: finegan@zenoagency.com

Twitter: @StevieFinegan

Clients:

Travis Baldree

Alice Bell

Cierra Block

Marie Brennan

Rebecca Brownlie

Andrew Cartmel

Mário Coelho

J.R. Dawson

Clio Evans

Craig Laurance Gidney

J.T. Greathouse

Daniel B. Greene

Elizabeth Helen

Grady Hendrix

Laura Kerseviciute

Shannon Mayer

Anna McNuff

Katy Nyquist

Bryce O’Connor

Adam Oyebanji

Sian Radford

Emily Rath

Farrah Riaz

Cassidy Ellis Salter

Calah Singleton

Emily Turner

R.R. Virdi

MJ Wassmer

Angus Watson

Gary Wigglesworth

Jasmine Wigham

Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

Catelyn Wilson

John Berlyne


Essentially I’m a sucker for a good old plot-driven narrative. To break this down further, I like books in which things happen to people (or monsters, or aliens or whatever) – in which a character is faced with a problem and in which the meat of the novel is about them solving that problem. For me, good fiction is about forward momentum and the plot is the engine that should drive a story onwards. There are infinite variations and riffs on this classic approach and seeing them reinvented time and again is one of the great pleasures of reading.

I’ll happily consider all kinds of fantasy and SF – but anodyne Tolkien derivatives will be given short shrift and I can spot ‘em a mile off!  I like cool monsters and heavy magic and I like books in which magic seeps into contemporary life. Neil Gaiman does this kind of thing beautifully but please don’t send me Gaiman derivatives either – be inspired by brilliant writers, but don’t try to replicate their work.

I’ll read Urban Fantasy, but note that I’m not the ideal target demographic for this kind of stuff so I’m only looking for the highest quality material. Given the level of competition, anything less than exceptional will be bounced back to you. I’ll gladly read YA stuff but do note that it’s really not an area I tend to represent, so the chances of me being the right agent for a YA book are slim. That said, if you can ignite my sense of wonder, lost so long ago, buried beneath a black mountain of cynicism, then I’ll get the drinks in! And I’ll read space operahorror, and thrillers and crime and historical fiction and combinations of all of the above – surprise me! And if it helps you further to target your submission, don’t send me political treatise disguised as fiction, or anything too whimsical or stuff that purports to be funny but isn’t. And read our submission guidelines!

Contact Details:

Email: berlyne@zenoagency.com

Twitter: @jberlyne

Clients:

Ben Aaronovitch

James P. Blaylock

Marie Brennan

Peter V. Brett

Algis Budrys (Estate)

Jack Campbell

Tobias Capwell

Jonathan Carroll

Andrew Cartmel

Michael Cobley

Aliette de Bodard

William Gibson

Simon R. Green

Elizabeth Hand

Charlaine Harris

Mark Hodder

Andrew Hodges

Tanya Huff

Charlie Human

Sylvia Hunter

Christopher Husberg

Sarah Anne Langton

Ian R. MacLeod

Nick Martell

Ian McDonald

Elizabeth Moon

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Tim Powers

Brandon Sanderson

Kari Sperring

Lavie Tidhar

Ian Tregillis

Simon K. Unsworth

Freda Warrington

Roger Zelazny (Estate)

Lavie Tidhar’s THE CANDY MAFIA Nominated for Magnolia Book Award!


We’re very happy to report that Lavie Tidhar‘s THE CANDY MAFIA has been nominated for the 2021-2 Magnolia Book Award! The novel, published by Peachtree Publishing in North America, is the author’s first for young readers and is a crime/mystery/noir. Here’s the synopsis…

Twelve-year-old private detective Nelle is swept up in a world of candy smuggling in this humorous middle grade mystery from World Fantasy Award-winner Lavie Tidhar!

Nelle Faulkner is a preteen private detective who solves cases from her mother’s garden shed. She also lives in a city where the mayor has prohibited candy and kid-led candy gangs are thriving.

So when notorious candy gangster Eddie de Menthe asks for her help finding a missing teddy bear, Nelle Faulkner is on the case. But when the teddy turns up, Eddie himself goes missing, and Nelle and her friends quickly find themselves swept up in a shady underworld of sweets smugglers, back alley deals, and storefront firebombs.

If Nelle has any hope of tracking down her missing client, she’ll first have to unmask the true faces behind the smuggling ring. Can she and her friends find a way to take the cake? Or will they come to a sticky end?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Bugsy Malone in this entertaining, action-packed mystery from World Fantasy Award-winning author Lavie Tidhar. With moody illustrations by Daniel Duncan, readers will be instantly pulled into the fun.

The novel is also available in the UK, published by Scholastic (as CANDY), and is also available in Germany, France, Poland, Czechia, Poland, and Italy.

‘It won’t take a detective to spot Willie Wonka, as well as Sam Spade, hidden in the tongue-in-cheek caper’s literary DNA.’Booklist (Starred Review)

‘Delicious pastiche of “noir” fiction from SF author Lavie Tidhar, set in a city where everything sweet and sugary is banned. Private eye Nelle searches for a lost teddy bear and uncovers a Chinatown-style conspiracy. You could think of it as The Malteser Falcon, or perhaps Double Inde-mint-y.’ — Financial Times (Summer Books of 2018)

‘Noir tropes loom large in Tidhar’s fast-paced story, with a gutsy gumshoe, a hardboiled narrative voice (“I needed a job even worse than I needed a caramel fudge”), and enough action to keep young readers on their toes.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘Candy is one of those books that do not take children and teenagers for fools. The story is able to change shifts, thanks to lot of humour, to more serious subjects. Of course, we can enjoy it at any age. If possible, the book should be served in place of dessert.’ — Geektest (France)

‘Due to the wonderfully fluent writing style, the pleasantly short chapters and the rousing plot, I devoured the book in record time. For girls and boys from the age of 10, who like to read exciting, funny, imaginative detective stories, “Secret Agent Candy” is just perfect. I really hope that this is a start of a series and we will soon be able to solve their second, tricky case together with Nelle… Exciting, funny, bizarre and just awesome!’ — Die Bücherwelt von CorniHolmes (Germany)

CANDY is the case when a children’s book can actually be interesting at any age. Children will appreciate the plot and humour, adults – a lot of references scattered throughout the text and how unexpectedly and funny elements of the classic “cool” and noir detective story are refracted, if you put them in the context of a children’s literature. Fun, playful and exciting.’ — Fantalab (Russia)

‘Written in the style of the hard-boiled American detective fiction of the 1940s, this is a juggernaut of a tale with plenty of twists and turns. A challenging read for ages 10+ who enjoy suspense coupled with a dry sense of humour.’ — West Sussex Schools Library Service

ICYMI: Kristina Pérez’s Las Musas #AskAgent Webinar Video now available!


In case you missed it last week, the video for Kristina Pérez‘s latest webinar is now available! The event, which was co-hosted by Mayra Cuevas, was a huge success.

Here are some more details of the event…

Las Musas authors Mayra Cuevas and Kristina Perez share everything you need to know about literary agents.

In this webinar they discuss:

-What makes a project publishable?

-The role of an agent

-Query letters that work

-What should be in your synopsis

-Who should I query?

-How to approach agents via cold query emails and writers’ conferences.

-Agency representation agreements

-Your questions answered!

John Berlyne Interviewed on Coode Street Podcast!


Zeno Managing Director and Agent John Berlyne has been interviewed for Jonathan Strahan’s Coode Street Podcast! Part of the “10 Minutes With” series of episodes, it is intended to bring together ‘readers and booklovers from around the world talk about what they’re reading right now and what’s getting them through these difficult times.’

The episode covers a lot of ground (it is actually over 30 minutes), many books, and the state of publishing today.

We hope you enjoy the interview!

If you’d like more Zeno-related podcast goodness, both Ian McDonald and Lavie Tidhar have also also been guests for the 10 Minutes With series…

Ian is the author of, most recently, the critically-acclaimed Luna series, published by Tor Books (North America), Gollancz (UK) and Tor.com (prequel novella).

Lavie is the author of, most recently BY FORCE ALONE — out now in the UK, published by Head of Zeus; and due to be published in North America by Tor Books in August. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning CENTRAL STATION, UNHOLY LAND and THE VIOLENT CENTURY, which are published in North America and in the UK by Tachyon Publications.

This Friday: #AskAgent Live Q&A with Kristina Pérez!


This Friday, Kristina Pérez will be taking part in an #AskAgent Live Q&A! Part of the Las Musas Webinar series, Kristina will be joined by Mayra Cuevas and together they will ‘share everything you need to know about literary agents’!

Th webinar — which will take place at noon EST (5pm GMT) will discuss the following topics (among any others that arise during the Q&A):

-What makes a project publishable?
-The role of an agent
-Query letters that work
-What should be in your synopsis
-Who should I query?
-How to approach agents via cold query emails and writers’ conferences.
-Agency representation agreements
-Your questions answered!

You need to register for the event, so be sure to do so ahead of time!

Friday: World Building 101 Webinar with Kristina Pérez!


On Friday, April 24th, agent Kristina Pérez is hosting a world-building webinar as part of a Las Musas series of online events! Here are some more details…

Do you love sci-fi and fantasy? Wondering how authors build their worlds from the ground up? Then sign up for the World Building 101 workshop, aimed at both readers and writers, for insight into creating complex, diverse worlds and techniques for developing your own. …

In this 60min interactive webinar, Kristina will guide you through the basics of world building with reference to popular YA and adult fantasy and sci-fi novels. There will also be the opportunity to brainstorm our own world together and ask questions. Participants will leave with research tips, new resources, and the tools needed to bring new worlds to life!

You do need to register for the event, and we expect this to be a popular one! So, head on over to Las Musas’s website to register for this event.